Is Surround Sound Worth It?


Surround sound is a term that refers to the use of multiple speakers to create a realistic and immersive sound field in a room. It can enhance the experience of watching movies, TV shows, games, and music by making you feel like you are part of the action. But should you invest in delivering content with surround sound audio to your subscribers? In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of surround sound for your TV service.


The Benefits


There are several benefits of offering surround sound audio to your subscribers, such as:


  • Customer satisfaction: Surround sound can improve the quality and enjoyment of your content, especially for genres that rely on sound effects, such as action, horror, or sci-fi. Your subscribers will appreciate the added value and differentiation that surround sound can provide, and may be more likely to stay loyal and recommend your service to others.
  • Competitive edge: Surround sound can give you an edge over your competitors who may not offer it or charge extra for it. You can attract more customers who are looking for a premium and immersive audio experience, and increase your market share and revenue.
  • Future-proofing: Surround sound is becoming more common and accessible, as most movies and TV shows released on Blu-ray or streaming platforms are encoded with Dolby or DTS surround sound formats, which can deliver up to 7.1 channels of discrete audio. Some newer formats, such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, can even deliver up to 11.1 channels of audio with height effects. By investing in surround sound now, you can prepare for the future demand and expectations of your customers.

The Challenges


There are also some challenges and costs involved in delivering content with surround sound audio to your subscribers, such as:


  • Bandwidth: Surround sound requires more bandwidth than stereo audio, as it has more channels and data to transmit. This may affect the quality and speed of your service, especially if you have a large number of subscribers or limited network capacity. You may need to upgrade your infrastructure or compress your audio to reduce the bandwidth consumption.
  • Compatibility: Surround sound may not be compatible with all devices and speakers that your subscribers use to access your service. Some devices may not support surround sound formats or require additional hardware or software to decode them. Some speakers may not be able to reproduce surround sound accurately or require specific placement and configuration. You may need to provide clear instructions and support to your subscribers on how to set up and enjoy surround sound on their devices and speakers.
  • Cost & Complexity: Surround sound may increase your operational and maintenance costs, as you need to acquire, encode, store, and stream more audio data than stereo audio. Some software solutions, like Vcodes vCoder, can offer considerable cost savings in the content preparation process. You may also need to pay licensing fees to Dolby or DTS for using their surround sound formats. You may need to balance these costs with the potential revenue and profit that surround sound can generate for your service.

Surround sound for your TV service is not a simple yes or no decision. It depends on several factors, such as your target market, content portfolio, network capacity, budget, and goals. You need to weigh the pros and cons of surround sound carefully and evaluate its feasibility and profitability for your service.


According to some market research reports, the global home audio market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.4% from 2022 to 2027, driven by factors such as increasing demand for smart speakers, wireless headphones, and streaming services. The global surround sound speakers market is also expected to grow at a considerable rate until 2030. These trends indicate that there is a growing interest and demand for surround sound among consumers.


If you want to tap into this opportunity and offer a superior audio experience to your subscribers, you may want to consider investing in surround sound for your TV service.